Trey Pollard & Roberto Carlos Lange (Helado Negro) – Antiphone Remixes
Looking through a microscope is like opening a door. Depending on what you find, it can be frightening or comforting. It can affirm truths that you expected to find, or it can surprise you by revealing unanticipated shapes, colors, and movements. When Trey Pollard composed the pieces of his contemporary classical chamber debut, 2018’s Antiphone, he used the musical language that he had honed over years of creative composing, pop arranging, and recreational fugue writing to make a beautiful macro-organism that, when put under a microscope, surprised even him.
That’s how Pollard describes Roberto Carlos Lange’s Antiphone remixes: like zooming in on an atom and seeing a whole galaxy. “There are these vast landscapes inside that I didn’t know were there,” Pollard says of Lange’s (also known as Helado Negro) take on “8 Pairs: Prelude VIII,” subtitled “Bend Remix.” On that and four other reinterpretations of pieces from Antiphone, Lange focuses in on a few choice moments and tweaks its DNA to create new sounds, moods, and narratives in each. He explains: “I would sample small sections of music in the composition and loop them and combine them with other sections of the composition matching up different looped measures. The rest then became laying out flow and using audio effects and time-stretching as a compositional tool. It was a meditative process and the structure of all the pieces came so fast.”
Pollard likens it to “found art,” where sonic elements are used to create something totally different. The result is one that brings the composer comfort. “When you conceive of a musical thing,” he explains, “it’s beneficial to only be able to imagine it working in one way. It helps you finish it with confidence. Otherwise, you get bogged down with ‘option anxiety.’ So to hear those structures function in a different way is affirming.”
Pollard and Lange have worked together before: Pollard contributed string arrangements and pedal steel to three Helado Negro albums starting in 2013, including Private Energy (Asthmatic Kitty) in 2016, and one large-scale performance of Island Universe Story at St. Paul’s Ordway Center. So looking at Antiphone under a microscope was somewhat familiar territory for Lange. “Trey has a way of making pieces that feel like they have no edges, they always feel multi-sensory,” he explains. “I was hoping to amplify that.”
1. Fixed Ideas – Open Remix
2. 8 Pairs: Fugue II – Inside Remix
3. 8 Pairs: Fugue V – Around Remix
4. 8 Pairs: Prelude VIII – Bend Remix
5. 8 Pairs: Fugue VI – Stay Remix
Angelica Garcia shares new video for “Lucifer Waiting”
Angelica Garcia has shared the video for “Lucifer Waiting,” a vibrant song off her acclaimed new album Cha Cha Palace. “‘Lucifer Waiting’ is about empowering yourself, even if you’re afraid, to recognize what is truly around you,” explains Garcia. Of the track’s accompanying video—directed by Richmond-based Arts & Letters Creative Co.—she adds:
“From the beginning, everyone agreed that it would be such a cool challenge to tell this story using the collage on my album cover. We knew we wanted the artwork to interact with real-life performance to tell the song’s story of fighting off evil. I feel like the dance performance by myself and my friend Christine Catherine Wyatt is representative of ourselves fighting off our demons. Thinking back to when I first started making the collage, it was beyond me to imagine it vivified in this way. I’m glad to have a video that captures and combines several memories of the making of Cha Cha Palace.”
Andy Jenkins – “Far Away From Here (feat. Erin Rae)”
Far Away From Here is a song about the afterimages of love, remembering those free and easy times, heightened emotions and lengthening shadows. It also describes the realization–after love is gone–of feeling pretty alright. I pictured someone at the end of a long day of traveling, who realized they felt good for the first time in a while. “I don’t mind the way I felt today, far away from here.” What’s the saying? Distance makes the heart grow.
We tracked last summer to tape at Spacebomb Studios with four of my favorite musicians: Pinson Chanselle, Cameron Ralston, Alan Good Parker & Jacob Ungerleider. I produced a song of my own for the first time. Erin Rae recorded vocals in Nashville. Her last record Putting On Airs was a personal revelation, beautifully crafted, cutting and calm. I feel lucky that she is singing on this track.
The single cover is a photograph taken by Emily White at Point Reyes National Seashore in late winter of this year. The rugged beauty of the California coast and its wildlife, the elephant seals and tule elk, looked fine to our Virginia eyes. Now it all seems far away. Enjoy the past–if it feels good, but treasure the new moment and the door, whenever it is open to you.
April 2, 2020
Andy Jenkins – “Far Away From Here (feat. Erin Rae)” (SB040)
DIG | 04.28.2020
Bedouine – “The Hum”
When Margo Guryan wrote “The Hum” about President Nixon’s tape machine during the Watergate scandal, she may not have realized it would be just as pertinent in 2020 as it was in 1972. “It’s poignant how much of it feels topical,” Bedouine’s Azniv Korkejian says, “like it could have been written today.” Bedouine’s new version of the song honors the original while placing it squarely in today’s zeitgeist, featuring an incompetent administration, a crumbling economy, and an environmental crisis.
“I’ve been a fan of Margo Guryan for a while, but it was only recently that I truly absorbed the lyrics to ‘The Hum,’” says Korkejian. “Margo’s nonchalant cutting wit is something to admire.” Case in point, the too-true gem that is verse four: “The rich save money and the poor save gas / Vote for an elephant and get an ass / He hires and he fires, he appoints and sacks / But he can’t figure out his income tax.”
Guryan, a jazz-trained pianist from Queens, released her only album Take a Picture in 1968 after a friend played her The Beach Boys’ seminal “God Only Knows,” which redirected her musical course from jazz to writing pop songs. It wasn’t until 2001 with Oglio Records’ release of 25 Demos that “The Hum” was heard by the public, and even then, it hasn’t gotten the attention that others in her repertoire have.
Produced by Gus Seyffert (Beck, Michael Kiwanuka, Dr. Dog), “The Hum” follows Bedouine’s “utterly lovely” (MOJO) second album Bird Songs of a Killjoy from last year. It’s not her first cover of a lesser-known songwriter who received due attention later in life, either. In 2018, her cover of Laurel Canyon psych-folk singer Linda Perhacs’ “Hey, Who Really Cares?” was the b-side to the slightly-more-famous Elton John’s “Come Down In Time” and was lauded as “both stunning and understated” by Rolling Stone.
Bedouine – “The Hum” (SB036)
DIG | 04.16.2020
Spacebomb House Band – “30 Century Man (feat. Andy Jenkins)”
Within the cryptic verses of Scott Walker‘s “30 Century Man,” Spacebomb producer Cameron Ralston surmised a certain irreverence from their messaging. “I’ve always heard it as a rock and roll song at its core,” he says, despite the stark minimalist approach of the original: strummed acoustic guitar in one stereo channel, Walker’s lonely, crooned reverberant voice in the other. “It’s one of the more iconic recorded pieces of the 20th century,” Ralston adds, “and it would be a thankless, if not completely futile endeavor to try to do a true copy of it. Let’s go for something less restrained and more rambunctious.”
So he brought in the Spacebomb House Band, the outfit of instrumental pros and studio wizards, to transform it into what could be a garage rock Jimi Hendrix Experience cover band version of the song. Matthew E. White, Trey Pollard, Pinson Chanselle, Cameron Ralston. The full band, live in the room, minimal mics, one take style, and recorded to 1” tape. To play Walker’s role, Ralston enlisted Spacebomb recording artist Andy Jenkins. “His voice reminds me of Scott Walker’s somewhat in its baritone quality,” Ralston says. “I thought he’d be the perfect fit to connect the dots to the original version.”
Jenkins says about his performance, “The music Cameron produced was such a wild departure from the original that I tried to stick closer to Walker’s delivery rather than try to riff, keep everything centered.” Walker’s surly tone, undercut by perfect lyrics, attracted him to the project. “There’s such a surrealist, deliberately wrongheaded message on one level: If you can’t get it together, freeze until the world is better. Terrible advice. The song covers a great deal of ground in a very short time. A lesson for us all.”
Upon his death in 2019, the BBC called Walker “one of the most enigmatic and influential figures in rock history,” and “30 Century Man” is one of his gems of a song that reflect that, a seed that will continue to sprout for hundreds of years to come.
DIG | 04.10.2020